Tooth Pain Home Remedies

Brunette man in a white shirt cringes and touches his cheek due to pain from a toothache

Unexpected tooth pain should always be addressed by a dentist. It could mean you have advanced tooth decay or a serious infection! But we know you can’t always get there instantly. In the meantime, we want to help you stay comfortable until your emergency appointment. Here are our tips to quell tooth pain at home.

1. Ice Pack

It may sound like too simple of a solution, but a cold compress really does work. If you have an ice pack, wrap it up in a cloth and apply it to the area that hurts in 20 minute increments. You can do the same with a bag of frozen veggies, a frozen water bottle, or a baggie of ice cubes. Not only will the ice help numb the pain, but it should also ease any swelling.

2. OTC Pain Medications

Take an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen with a full glass of water and food. By using as directed, you should get some much needed relief from the pain and discomfort you’ve been feeling. For your safety, never take a friend’s prescription pain medication!

3. Salty Rinse

A solution of warm, salty water can be a great help if you have any kind of sore or wound in the mouth. Swish gently and the mixture will soothe the pain and help cleanse the affected area.

4. Oral Anesthetic Gel

A pain-relieving ointment–often in the form of a gel–formulated specifically for the mouth is a good thing to have around in case of sudden tooth pain. It can be used to address instances of minor tooth and gum pain, although it’s not a long-term solution.

Tooth Pain Relief at Heritage Dental

As we said at the outset, tooth pain should never be ignored. Pain indicates something is wrong that needs treatment. So if you’re dealing with pain and/or discomfort in your mouth, we’re here to help. We’ll have you into our Katy dental office as soon as possible so our expert team can examine your mouth, address the issue, and get you pain-free! Call us today.

Benefits of Choosing a Family Dentist

Mom and date smile while sitting with their son and daughter who need a family dentist in Katy, TX

If you are in the market for a new dentist for yourself and your family in the Katy area, we invite you to choose our Heritage Dental team to care for your oral health. There are several factors to consider when choosing a new dental home. In this post, we’ll talk about several benefits of choosing one family dentist for your household’s dental needs.

1. Simplified Scheduling

Parents can easily feel overwhelmed keeping track of everyone’s different activities and appointments between all the sporting events, music lessons, play dates, PTA meetings, work calls, grocery shopping, doctor visits, and more. Simplify your life with our comprehensive services at Heritage Dental! Seeing just one dentist makes arranging and keeping track of biannual dental visits a whole lot easier. We try to make scheduling as convenient as possible for your busy family. Utilize our online contact form and extended hours–our office is open until 7:00 PM on Monday and Thursday, and from 8:00 to 2:00 PM on Saturday!

2. Oral Healthcare: A Stress-Free Family Affair

Instead of bouncing between different dental offices for your kids, yourself, your spouse, and even your aging parents, your family can achieve and maintain superb oral health together at our family-oriented one-stop dental office. The continuity of visiting one dental office is great for family camaraderie, but can also help us detect oral health patterns in your family that aid in our treatment, making your visits more efficient and less stressful. At Heritage Dental, we can help every family feel comfortable about visiting the dentist with our calming sedation dentistry, kids’ dentistry, and relaxing amenities.

3. Less Chaos After a Dental Emergency

When your whole family visits the same dentist, things are more straightforward when a dental emergency strikes. Everyone will know who to call since there won’t be any confusion over who has been seeing which dentist. Make sure our phone number (832-437-5895) and address (23945 Franz Road Suite A, Katy, TX, 77493) are in your contacts!

Your Family Dentist in Katy, TX

For all your family’s oral healthcare needs, look no further than Heritage Dental in Katy, TX. We welcome new patients and treat them like family! Contact us today to schedule your first appointment.

Tips for Preventing Tooth Decay

Curly-haired brunette woman touching her cheeks smiles without tooth decay and cavities and wears a white tanktop

Although the majority of Americans have had or will have a cavity in their lifetime, you don’t have to follow that statistic! Here, we’ll discuss what a cavity is, what causes them, treatment options, and tips for preventing tooth decay.

Tooth Decay 101

Early-stage tooth decay occurs when the enamel, the hard outer protective layer, becomes weakened by acidic byproducts created by bacteria as they consume your dietary sugar. Your enamel’s weakened mineral structure will continue to wear away and become permanently damaged if it is not fortified. This results in holes and pits called cavities that allow bacteria to reach the more vulnerable inner parts of the tooth, the dentin and pulp. Untreated decay can lead to serious oral health problems, such as sensitive teeth, bad breath, infection, and tooth loss. Most cavities are hard to see with the naked eye. Because of this, we recommend visiting us every six months. At these regular checkups and cleanings, we’ll check your teeth for tooth decay and cavities using dental X-rays and special tools.

Tooth Decay Treatment

Treatment for decay depends on its severity. Fortunately, weakened enamel can often be strengthened by improved oral hygiene, in-office fluoride treatments, and consuming tap water and tooth-strengthening foods. But when the decay can’t be reversed, the damage will need to be removed and the tooth’s integrity repaired with either a filling or root canal therapy. And if the tooth is not strong enough after treatment, you’ll receive a custom-fitted crown to restore strength and function.

Cavity Prevention Tips

Improve Your Daily Oral Hygiene

Maintain good oral hygiene every day by brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste and soft-bristled toothbrush twice a day for two minutes each time and flossing every day. Otherwise, you are putting your teeth at risk for tooth decay. Daily cleaning of your teeth, gums, and tongue helps keep your mouth protected from bad bacteria, enamel-destroying acids, and leftover food particles.

Consume a Balanced Diet

Your diet very closely impacts your oral health. For example, a diet high in processed carbohydrates and sugar will increase the risk of tooth decay. Drink plenty of water and consume a variety of nutritious foods, with emphasis on fresh vegetables and calcium-rich foods. Chew only sugar-free gum and avoid tobacco products. Additionally, learn to moderate your intake of foods and beverages like alcohol, soda, juice, candy, chips, cake, cookies, processed snacks, and sports drinks.

Heritage Dental Can Help You Stay Cavity-Free!

It’s also important to come in regularly for checkups and cleanings to prevent tooth decay. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment.

Why Do I Have Spots on My Tongue?

Red-haired young woman with her eyes closed sticks her tongue out while wearing a white beanie
Photo by Derick Santos from Pexels

If you have spots on your tongue, you may be wondering what’s going on. Here, we’ll explain a few potential reasons why you might have spots on your tongue.

1. Canker Sores

If you see a white spot that is surrounded by an inflamed-looking red ring, chances are good that it is a canker sore. These mouth ulcers can show up on their own or with some friends anywhere inside the mouth, including the tongue. They vary in size, duration, and pain level. Depending on its severity, we may be able to treat your cancer sore with laser dentistry. Although much of their etiology is unknown, canker sores can be caused by bacteria, viruses, an acidic diet, an autoimmune disorder, and certain medications. Other factors that may make you more susceptible to canker sores include allergies, stress, smoking, and nutritional deficiencies.

2. Oral Thrush

White, creamy-looking lesions on your tongue indicate oral thrush, an overgrowth of a naturally-occurring fungus called Candida albicans in your mouth. You’ll often temporarily lose your sense of taste and feel like you have a dry mouth. Treatment involves antifungal medication and consuming unsweetened yogurt. Oral thrush often pops up when the immune system is immature or depressed. High-risk individuals include babies, denture wearers, smokers, and patients with anemia, diabetes, chronic dry mouth, and immune-compromising diseases.

3. Leukoplakia

Leukoplakia are thick, hardened patches of white or gray on the tongue that commonly occur due to chewing tobacco, smoking, and drinking alcohol. Stopping these activities may clear up the patches, but sometimes other intervention is needed, particularly if the patches are deemed pre-cancerous. The Epstein-Barr virus can also cause fuzzy white patches of oral hairy leukoplakia.

4. Tongue Cancer

Dark patches on the tongue could be a sign of cancer. The spots could also show up as scabs or sores that don’t heal. Other red flags for tongue cancer include swelling, lumps, and difficulty swallowing. At your routine checkups, we screen for oral cancer because the sooner it can be treated, the better the prognosis.

Schedule a Dental Checkup in Katy, TX

Let us know if you suspect any of these conditions or notice other abnormal changes in your oral health. We can determine what the spots are and the best course of treatment. Call us as soon as possible to make an appointment!

How to Make Dental Visits Fun for Kids

Looking up into a huddle of multiracial children after a fun dental visit at Heritage Dental in Katy, TX

A healthy smile is best started at a young age! However, getting your kiddo excited to visit the dentist can be quite the challenge at times. At Heritage Dental, we do everything we can to make your child’s visit with us enjoyable, from fun kid-friendly amenities to rewarding them for a job well done. But there are some things you can do at home too! Read on to learn a few more tips for getting your little one more excited to visit us!

1. Explain the “Why”

While it can be difficult for children to understand just how important their oral health is, do your best to explain the benefits of visiting the dentist regularly. As they come to understand the benefits of a healthy smile, they may be more inclined to have a better attitude about visiting us so often.

2. Remind Them About Our Friendly Team

When you and your child are here, we focus on establishing a meaningful relationship with both you and them. That means we’re thoroughly introducing ourselves, getting to know them, and reassuring them that we’re looking forward to their next visit. This way, they can build a connection with us and feel safe each time they’re in the dental chair. If your child was particularly fond of a team member, remind them that their special friend will be delighted to see them!

3. Use Positive Reinforcement

When our team says your child has done a great job keeping up with their oral hygiene, we recommend giving them some sort of reward. Something like a trip to the park or bouncehouse, a new storybook or stuffed animal, or special stickers can not only encourage them to take care of their teeth between visits but also gets them excited to visit us and see how well they’ve done.

Children’s Dental Care in Katy, TX

We know every child is different and what works for some doesn’t work for all. Rest assured, we cater to each child’s unique needs and make it our mission to provide them with high-quality dental care. Contact us today to schedule your child’s next appointment with our friendly team at Heritage Dental!

What Does Laser Dentistry Do?

Dark-haired man with black glasses, white shirt, and sky blue button up smiles after receiving laser dentistry

Here at Heritage Dental in Katy, TX, we pride ourselves in our ability to offer advanced dental technology to our patients. Among our modern technology is laser dentistry. To learn more about laser dentistry, and how it can improve your dental experience and benefit your oral health, read on!

What Is Laser Dentistry?

Laser dentistry is an exciting technology that allows us to treat a range of dental concerns in a less invasive way. They can be incorporated into a variety of different scenarios. For example, in advance of a filling, lasers can help treat a cavity by cleaning out decay. Lasers are also used in periodontal therapy to treat gum disease. While preserving more of the patient’s soft tissue than alternative methods, lasers remove infection, reshape the gums, and stimulate gum regeneration. Additionally, we can reduce the discomfort of severe canker sores with laser dentistry.

Benefits of Lasers in Dental Care

There are a number of benefits to using lasers in dentistry. As they deliver a less-invasive experience, treatments are considered to be less painful than they would be otherwise. They also result in less bleeding and swelling, with a faster recovery. In general, laser procedures amount to a more pleasant patient experience with no disconcerting sounds or sensations.

Modern Dental Technology & Relaxing Comfort

We’re committed to bringing you the best in dental technology. In addition to laser dentistry, we strive to enhance our patients’ experience from start-to-finish with digital X-rays, an intraoral camera, sedation dentistry, and OralID fluorescence technology to screen for oral cancer. Moreover, you’ll love our patient amenities! We offer complimentary refreshments, cozy pillows and blankets, an internet station, office-wide Wi-Fi, and TVs in our private treatment rooms. We treat patients of all ages and even offer amenities for kids.

Your Trusted Dentist in Katy, TX

At Heritage Dental, comfort and technology come together to give you a dental experience that will put you at ease. Because we value each of our patients, your treatment and care will be personalized to address your unique needs. To learn more about our technology or comprehensive dental services, contact our team today. We look forward to hearing from you!

Can Flossing Too Much Damage Your Gums?

Brunette young man smiles as he flosses between his teeth while wearing a white t-shirt

In addition to brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, flossing is an important part of a good at-home oral hygiene routine. Whether you use traditional string floss, a water flosser, or another dental tool, flossing can help you avoid bad breath, tooth discoloration, cavities, and gum disease.

Why Is Flossing Important?

If you brush your teeth without flossing, you are leaving up to 40% of your tooth’s surface uncleaned. Bacteria and plaque love to hide in the nooks and crannies between teeth. Flossing works to remove this hard-to-reach plaque before it develops into a serious problem. Without daily oral care, plaque can damage your enamel, irritate your gums, and harden into tartar. Tartar is a substance that further irritates gums and causes them to recede and detach from your teeth. Tartar can only be safely removed by a dental professional through a special cleaning process.

How Often Should I Floss?

We recommend flossing at least once every day to remove food particles and debris from between your teeth and from under your gumline that your toothbrush cannot reach. You can floss any time during the day; the fact that you floss every day is more important than its timing. However, many of our patients do prefer to floss before bedtime for a cleaner feeling before going to sleep. Additionally, it’s appropriate to floss before or after brushing.

What Happens If I Floss Too Much?

Too much flossing each day can irritate your gums, especially if you’re also flossing too forcefully. If you do floss more than once a day and your gums are tender and red, cut back to once a day to give your gums a break. Consider using a water flosser on a gentle pressure setting instead of string floss if you still want to floss after every meal. But if you do not currently floss at least once a day and your gums are tender, red, swollen, and bleeding, this is another story. You likely have early-stage gum disease and probably need to make some improvements to your oral hygiene routine.

Preventive Dental Care at Heritage Dental

Gentle, daily flossing can reduce your risk for many dental issues and help keep your gums and teeth healthy and strong. To ask us any questions about flossing or to schedule your next checkup and cleaning, contact our Katy dental office today.

Is Chewing Gum Safe for My Teeth?

Blonde woman blows a pink gum bubble against a yellow background

There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about whether or not gum is good for your teeth, but we want to set the record straight—especially since the answer isn’t quite as simple as you might think.

The Sugar Problem

One of the biggest culprits behind many oral health issues is sugar. These days, many foods and beverages contain large amounts of added sugar that bad oral bacteria feed upon. Well-fed bacteria accumulate into a sticky film of plaque, which irritates and inflames gums. But plaque not only increases your risk of gum disease, it produces acids and toxins that damage tooth enamel and cause decay. Chewing gum that contains sugar is bad for your teeth, as its sticky sugar feeds this plaque bacteria. We recommend avoiding sugary gum for optimal oral health. Fortunately, not all gum contains sugar!

Sugar-Free Gum

Although sugar is commonly found in gum, there are plenty of brands that make satisfying sugar-free gum. In fact, chewing sugar-free gum for at least 20 minutes after eating can help stimulate the production of salvia and rinse your mouth of leftover food particles and bacteria. Additionally, there is a type of sugar-free sweetener found in some gums, called xylitol, with properties that may help reduce the accumulation of bad oral bacteria.

Benefits of Chewing Sugar-Free Gum

Aside from helping to rinse your mouth, chewing sugar-free gum is a good way to curb your appetite between meals and freshen your breath. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t chew too much gum if you have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD) or any other kind of jaw pain. Let us know if you experience any pain while chewing–we can help find an appropriate treatment!

Can Chewing Gum Replace Preventive Dental Care?

Chewing sugar-free gum is not a replacement for daily brushing and flossing, and it’s certainly not a substitute for twice-yearly dental checkups. But if you’re a fan of chewing gum, know that it’s totally safe, and even beneficial, for your teeth if it’s sugar-free.

Reach Out to Heritage Dental in Katy, TX!

If you have any questions about how to achieve and maintain a healthy smile, or if you’re due for a cleaning and exam, don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly team at Heritage Dental. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Interesting Facts About Teeth

Brunette woman smiles as she holds a magnifying glass up to her teeth against a blue wall

At Heritage Dental, we won’t hesitate to tell you that we love everything about teeth! If you’re interested in learning some interesting facts about human teeth, animal teeth, and the history of dentistry, we’ve got them for you right here.

Teeth & Oral Hygiene Facts

Did You Know?

  • Just like a fingerprint, each tooth has an individual shape and size that is unique to each person. This is one reason that forensic dentists are sometimes called to the scene of crimes or disasters to help identify victims and perpetrators.
  • Tooth enamel is the hardest material in the human body! Although your enamel is incredibly durable, it can erode, crack, and chip. Be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently brush your teeth, to wear a nightguard if you grind your teeth, and to avoid jaw breakers, chewing ice, and opening packaging with your teeth.
  • If you brush your teeth for the recommended twice a day for two minutes each time, you’ll only spend a little over 1 day brushing your teeth each year. That’s a small amount of time to maintain a smile that is healthy and beautiful!
  • Although there are exceptions, right-handed people tend to prefer chewing on the right side of their mouths, while left-handed people tend to like chewing on the left side.

Animal Teeth Facts

Did You Know?

  • Giraffes have no front teeth on their upper jaw! They have a hard palate at the top jaw line with molars in the back.
  • While humans only have 28-32 adult teeth, certain species of snails can have over 25,000 teeth.
  • An elephant can grow six sets of molars in a lifetime. These teeth can weigh over 6 pounds each!
  • Some animals act like dentists and dental hygienists for their neighbors. For example, when a Nile crocodile waits with its mouth open, an Egyptian plover bird often stops for a snack by picking at and cleaning the crocodile’s teeth. After performing this service, the bird leaves unharmed.

Interesting Facts About Dental History

Did You know?

  • Early toothbrushes were made of twigs that our ancestors chewed on.
  • The first recorded “dentist”, named Hesi-Ra, lived in Egypt thousands of years ago.
  • Ancient Greeks used tooth powders made of unusual ingredients, like pumice and talc, to clean their teeth.
  • Though Emeline Roberts Jones began practicing at her husband’s dental practice in 1855 after teaching herself basic fillings and extractions, Lucy Beaman Hobbs became the first female dentist with a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 1866.

Modern Dental Care in Katy, TX

As you can see, teeth are as unique as they are important. We are lucky to live in a time with so many available options for modern, affordable, and comfortable dental care. Here at Heritage Dental, we strive to help each of our patients have a stress-free and enjoyable visit with us. We provide sedation dentistry, office-wide Wi-Fi, an internet station, complimentary refreshments, amenities for kids, pillows, blankets, TVs in our private treatment rooms, and comprehensive dental services. Contact us to schedule your next cleaning and checkup!

Dental Sedation FAQ

Brunette woman leans calmly back on a couch as she relaxes

At Heritage Dental, we understand that dental anxiety is a real and serious problem for many patients. That’s why offer sedation options for those that are sensitive to pain or who get nervous or fearful before and during dental appointments. If you have questions about sedation and what to expect, we have the answers here.

What Is Dental Sedation?

Dental sedation is the general term used to describe medication that helps to soothe the nerves and/or numb pain during dental treatment. At our Katy dental office, we offer a few different types of sedation to suit the needs of our patients.

What Types of Sedation Are Available?

Nitrous oxide, known commonly as “laughing gas”, is one such option we offer. It is a sweet-smelling gas that produces a euphoric, calming sensation when inhaled. The effects wear off within minutes, making it safe for children and adults. Oral-conscious sedation refers to a pill taken prior to the appointment that reduces anxiety, allowing the patient to be relaxed during their dental visit. Finally, an innovative advancement in dentistry called the Wand gradually delivers anesthesia to create a gentle numbing sensation.

What Are the Effects of Sedation?

With nitrous oxide, the effects wear off very quickly. But it can take a little more time for the effects of oral conscious sedation and the Wand to wear off and have full feeling restored in the mouth and your full mental faculties. When you’re preparing for your appointment or procedure, ask us about what to expect for your specific circumstance and whether we recommend having someone drive you home.

Woman with a mask over her nose inhaling nitrous oxide dental sedation

Who Can Use It?

Children can safely use nitrous oxide, and we recommend all three options for adults, depending on their needs and health history.

How Can I Get It?

Ask us at your next appointment which dental sedation option may be best for you. We can help you choose an effective and safe sedation option for your situation, and will walk you through how you can prepare to receive dental sedation.

Receive Calming Dental Sedation at Heritage Dental!

If you have additional questions about our dental sedation options for you or a family member, contact us today. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have to put your mind at ease and to help your next dental appointment be as stress-free as possible.